by Ray Keating
July 28, 2020
So, what did you do this past Sunday night? Well, I watched 34 episodes of the Disney+ series One Day at Disney. I hadn’t planned on doing so, but once I started watching these 6-to-9-minute episodes, the series just sucked me in, resulting in a full-blown binge session.
As an economist and business author, I’m always fascinated by what people do for a living, and how they do it. In particular, there’s something encouraging and refreshing about individuals who treat their work as more than just a job, but as a vocation. Among many movie quotes I love, one of my more recent favorites is what Emma Stone’s character, Mia, says in La La Land: “People love what other people are passionate about.”
That’s what this series is about, with each episode focused on an individual who works somewhere in the vast Disney entertainment empire, and clearly treats that job as a vocation, a passion.
The shorts build on or leap off from an initial Disney+ One Day at Disney documentary. While the episodes featuring bigger names – such as Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger, ESPN’s Sage Steele, and ABC News anchor David Muir – certainly work, the series truly excels in most of the other episodes that focus on individuals who work in a wide array of endeavors that are behind the scenes, if you will, but vital to the company’s various endeavors.
There’s Thom Self, who is a scuba diver that makes sure things underwater are as they should be at Disneyland. Or, how about the moving family story of character designer Jose Zelaya and his mom? Kristina Dewberry is an Imagineering Construction manager and a huge Star Wars fan. And Vince Caro clearly enjoys being Pixar’s Senior Recording & Mixing Engineer, while Stephanie Carroll is a ranch hand at the Tri Circle D Ranch where she cares for Cinderella’s ponies and horses.
Seeing people appreciating their work occurs throughout the series, and it makes for inspiring and entertaining streaming.
It also can serve as a lesson for each of us. Just because a person works at Disney – the dream job for many out there, no doubt – doesn’t mean that they don’t have bad days just like the rest of us. And like others, they also succumb to routine. But one of the standout aspects of Disney is its customer service and focus. Each person is trained to think about how their work impacts guests and the public. That comes through in these One Day at Disney episodes. And that’s something each of us can learn from and take back to our own vocations. Whatever work we happen to be doing, somehow it is in service of others, and that matters.
In the end, these One Day at Disney shorts on Disney+ turn out to be just too darn short.
Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of thePastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, get the paperback or Kindle edition of Ray Keating’s new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York.